Top five Kiwi scalps over Kangaroos

Simon Mannering and the Kiwis celebrating their 2014 Four Nations victory.
Photo: Photosport

This weekend the Kiwis and the Kangaroos will battle it out for the Pacific Championship title.

For years, the Kangaroos dominated their little brothers across the Tasman, however, since the turn of the century, the Kiwis have achieved some incredible victories over the previously unfathomable powerhouses.

Here are the five most recent Kiwi wins over the Kangaroos.

1. 2008 World Cup Final


New Zealand 34 Australia 20

The Kiwis celebrate their victory in the 2008 World Cup.

The Kiwis celebrate their victory in the 2008 World Cup.
Photo: Photosport

This one was all. From Isaac Luke’s fearsome opening haka fireworks, to Billy Sater’s uncharacteristic brain explosion, the 2008 World Cup final is the Kiwis’ favorite time. Facing the coaching superstar Wayne Bennett and the stars, Stephen Kearney and his men pulled off the biggest upset in the history of the international league. The first 20 minutes looked to be business as usual for the Aussies as Slater burst through the line to give Darryn Lockyer an early try. David ‘the Wolfman’ Williams extended the lead to 10 as he surged down the sideline untouched for the second Australian. A rampaging Jeremy Smith got the Kiwis on the board, before some magic from Benji Marshall gave them the lead. The mercurial maestro tackled the defense with his trademark jink and the ball was ripped from his grasp. When David Fa’alogo put him in, he linked up with Jerome Ropati when the bunker cleared the effort. ​​​​The hosts regained the advantage shortly after through some dazzling offloads, finished by Lockyer to put his side up 16-12 at the break. Hurricane Lance Hohaia from half-back gave the Kiwis their third, and then the moment arrived. Giving Marshall a deep kick, Slater tried to run around Manu Vatuvai who moved the goal towards touch. One of the coolest heads in the game, Slater threw the ball back out of bounds and past his line-mates. Marshall won the ball, unmarked, with the line wide open for one of the easiest but most important four pointers of his career. Australia were far from done, and Greg Inglis brought the world champions right back. Up 22-20 with 10 to go, more controversy. Hohaia deflected a kick from Nathan Fien but Joel Monaghan headed it high. The bunker awarded a penalty try and New Zealand went two points ahead. The result was then sealed in a rather ugly way when Adam Blair was picked up at the end of Steeden pinballing to close out the famous 34-20 victory, ending Australia’s 33-year dominance of the tournament.

2. 2005 Tri Nations Final


New Zealand 24 Australia 0

Kiwis captain Ruben Wiki proudly lifted the trophy after winning the Gillette Tri Nations Final between New Zealand and Australia at Ellad Road.  140510

Kiwis captain Ruben Wiki proudly lifted the trophy after winning the Gillette Tri Nations Final between New Zealand and Australia at Ellad Road. 140510
Photo: Photosport

Three years before their biggest win, the Kiwis made their first real statement against the Kangaroos. New Zealand had won just one of the 13 previous meetings between the two nations when they clashed in the 2005 Tri Nations decider. However, a masterclass by Stacey Jones, who only came to England, saw 24 hours earlier due to the birth of his son, the Kiwis stopped Australia, just the second time the Kangaroos were kept scoreless in a test. A cold afternoon in Leeds, the Kiwis were on fire. With the England crowd right behind them, Brian McClennan’s men dominated from the start. In their first real attacking series in the final, Jones set up a pinpoint cross which was finished by Paul Whatuira to put the Kiwis up 6-0 after three minutes. New Zealand’s determination was on full display when Shontayne Hape denied a Jason Ryles try with a desperate effort in defence. Again looking set to score, David Kidwell snuck in an interception and hit 50 meters up the field, the ensuing breakdown sparked nothing and the tension flared. Back-to-back tries to Manu Vatuvai put the Kiwis ahead by 12, with Jones again playing a hand in both. The Little General was penalized to extend the lead to 14. Making up for his three missed conversions, Jones’ second penalty made it 16-0 at the break. Any hope of an Australian comeback was quickly dashed in the second 40 when Brent Webb blasted his way over the chalk. Jones added a third penalty to further improve the scoreline, marking the first time Australia had lost an international competition since 1978.

3. The 2010 Four Nations Final


New Zealand 16 Australia 12

Benji Marshall will surpass Gary Freeman in the number of Tests a player has captained the Kiwis.

Benji Marhsall was instrumental in the Kiwis’ 2010 Four Nations victory.
Photo: Photosport

Proving that ’08 was no fluke, New Zealand once again shocked the rugby league world in the 2010 Four Nations final. Benji Marshall cemented himself as a Kiwis legend after his unforgettable performance in Brisbane. The Wests Tigers star showed incredible confidence in his game, sparking the attack that secured another historic win. Australia were once again very successful and it took just over two minutes for the hosts to strike after Lance Hohaia made a hash of Lockyer’s header at goal and Brent Tate slotted in to score. The Kiwis managed to respond before half-time, Marshall’s brilliantly balanced ball putting Shaun Kenny-Dowall in a hole and setting things square at half-time. Billy Slater stepped in to offload Greg Bird to restore Australia’s lead. But Marshall was just getting started. A brilliant Jason Nightingale grubber brought New Zealand back within two, but Marshall was unable to convert, leaving Australia 12-10 ahead. With just over two minutes left on the clock, a miracle was needed so Marshall worked his magic. He ran it on the last one, shot it wide to Kenny-Dowall. The Roosters center found Nightingale on the outside which a speculator threw in to marshal. Almost butchering the chance, his ball eventually got out of his back to the open arms of Nathan Fien who went in under the posts. After multiple replays, the try was finally awarded as the Kiwis bench erupted.

4. Four Nations Final 2014


New Zealand 22 Australia 18

Shaun Johnson celebrates his try in the Rugby Four Nations Final between New Zealand Kiwis v Australia Kangaroos.  2014.

The 2014 Four Nations final was Shaun Johnson’s breakthrough on the international stage.

After Jones and Marshall’s heroics in the 2014 Four Nations final it was Shaun Johnson who would inspire another impressive victory for the Kiwis. He was a cracker at the Cake Tin, with Johnson heralded as an international elite. Michael Jennings scored the opener for Australia but New Zealand responded on the back of a great break from Shaun Kenny Dowall. The Kiwis quickly moved to the right when Jason Nightingale went over the line. After Johnson kicked a penalty to put his side 2 up, it would be one of the most memorable moments of his career. Receiving the ball on the last end, Johnson stood, weaved, spun and danced his way around four Kangaroos defenders before throwing a wide pass to Manu Vatuvai who picked up on the bounce and slotted past. The class of Cooper Cronk, Daly Cherry-Evans and Cameron Smith came to the fore as Australia closed the gap when the trio combined to put Sione Mata’utia in the corner. Moments later, however, Johnson once again brought the Wellington crowd to their feet. The Navy half-back broke straight through the line before Greg Inglis was pinned on the outside to score a stunner. The Kiwis then put the result beyond doubt as Vatuvai converted for his second try of the night. Ben Hunt offered the Aussies a small sniff but it was too little too late.

5. Anzac Test 2015


New Zealand 26 Australia 12

Manu Vatuvei celebrates his second try

Manu Vatuvei celebrates his second try

The only match between the teams in 2014, the Kiwis were sure to leave the Kangaroos with some deep wounds to heal in the 12 months until they meet again. He was the longest missing Anzac test for the Kiwis, losing the previous 13 dating back to 1998. Johnson put New Zealand on the board early with a shot at goal before Sam Thaiday thundered through the Kiwis defence. . New Zealand’s first try came straight from a scrum when Johnson and Roger Tuivasa Sheck created wide space for Manu Vatuvai. ‘The Beast’ struck again shortly after when Pita Hiku collected a Johnson bomb to put New Zealand up 12-6. Moments later, New Zealand would score their third courtesy of a Shaun Johnson special. A broken right-footed step left Johnathan Thurston dead and Johnson would convert to give his team an 18-6 lead. The attack continued before oranges, with New Zealand really taking the cake in the 40th minute. Twisting their arm, the Kiwis went wide and Jason Nightingale chipped in front. Greg Inglis failed to clean up the goals and Kenny Dowall bounced to an impressive 26-6 lead. Will Chambers scored a consolation for the hosts but the Kiwis were well and truly dominating the contest, which shows that the chasm that once existed between the two teams had now closed to a great extent.

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